Definition of allergy in US English:



  • 1A damaging immune response by the body to a substance, especially pollen, fur, a particular food, or dust, to which it has become hypersensitive.

    • ‘Some people who have food allergies find that certain foods will trigger eczema.’
    • ‘Our data may shed light on the role of diet in the allergy and asthma epidemic.’
    • ‘Kids who get eczema often have family members with hay fever, asthma, or other allergies.’
    • ‘Avoid things that trigger your child's asthma, such as allergies and breathing in cold air.’
    • ‘It's a common myth that dairy foods contribute to allergies such as hayfever, but it's just that, a myth.’
    • ‘Contact with even small amounts of some substances can cause skin allergies.’
    • ‘Work is now underway to make the vaccine effective for people whose asthma is caused by allergies to dust mites and pollen.’
    • ‘Your body develops an allergy from continued exposure to a specific substance.’
    • ‘People with allergies, such as hayfever or animal allergies, often get asthma.’
    • ‘Symptoms of a food allergy usually develop within about an hour after eating the offending food.’
    • ‘Symptoms of mild food allergies, such as a rash or runny nose, may be treated with antihistamines.’
    • ‘A common skin symptom of a food allergy is hives, or raised red itchy bumps on the skin.’
    • ‘Drug allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction to therapeutic agents.’
    • ‘A food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly believes that a harmless substance is harmful.’
    • ‘You might have a stuffy or runny nose because of a cold, the flu or seasonal allergies.’
    • ‘Nobody knows how many people in Britain have food allergies, but up to a third of the population think they do.’
    • ‘The college lecturer had insisted that he had had a genuine cough caused by a combination of hay fever and a dust allergy.’
    • ‘You may not be able to prevent having a food allergy, but you can avoid having an allergic reaction.’
    • ‘Reassure patients with a food intolerance that they do not have a food allergy.’
    • ‘The most common nose or lung allergies are to pollens, molds, dust mites, and cats.’
    hypersensitivity, sensitivity, susceptibility
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    1. 1.1informal An antipathy.
      ‘their allergy to free enterprise’
      • ‘I still work in feet and inches and have a confirmed allergy to all things computerised.’
      • ‘What do you make of this allergy to the past that is especially strong in business?’
      • ‘Now, he's back with two films, both of which underline his allergy to pigeonholing.’
      • ‘Well, Pete, this is a little tricky, and anyone with even a mild allergy to stats should look away now.’
      • ‘I want to return for a moment to your comment earlier about your allergy to literary gangs.’
      • ‘So, tell us Ihar, when did you first notice your allergy to the definite article?’
      • ‘Cayce's literal allergy to logos and brands makes her particularly well-suited to her work.’
      • ‘Liberals also need to get over their allergy to the cleanest form of energy, nuclear power.’
      • ‘It started as a kind of allergy to the ways of their political elders, expressed at first in hard and unsubtle language.’
      • ‘If they achieve support because of their allergy to ID cards, then many people must have a lot to hide.’
      • ‘Or they could have a combination of any of these with a severe allergy to math tables.’
      • ‘How they choose to let this affect their vote is a bit tricky, given the Right's new allergy to popularity.’
      aversion, antipathy, opposition, hostility, antagonism
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Early 20th century: from German Allergie, from Greek allos ‘other’, on the pattern of Energie ‘energy’.